The Bersih chairman said the movement is about the rakyat. — file pic
KUALA LUMPUR, July 3 — Bersih 2.0 chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan is unperturbed by the countless personal attacks against her since she announced a July 9 rally for free and fair elections.
The latest salvo came from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak who questioned her legal work for a case involving Islam while Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Seri Ali Rustam suggested that the government strip Ambiga of her citizenship.
“I am not going to respond to personal attacks and people who are just attacking Bersih with no basis. I think I will leave it to the public to judge us.
“We are a peaceful movement and we will leave it to the public to judge us by our action. Because Bersih is not about me, it is about the rakyat,” she told The Malaysian Insider.
Both Umno leaders are among several politicians who have castigated Ambiga for her role in Bersih 2.0 with Ali saying that a person who is hell-bent on “causing chaos in the country” does not deserve citizenship.
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad also trashed Bersih 2.0’s purpose for its July 9 rally yesterday, saying the coalition did not want electoral reform but was gunning for a repeat of the 2008 election tsunami.
The country’s longest-serving prime minister insisted that Malaysia’s electoral process has always been clean and fair, pointing out that opposition candidates have always been able to win seats in every general election.
The prime minister joined the mounting chorus of official disapproval yesterday. — file pic
Apart from the attacks, the former Bar Council president has also received a death threat. In a text message written in Malay and sent to Ambiga and the press on June 23, the unknown sender said, “If the rally takes place, my people and I will kill Ambiga and all those around her one by one including the idiot politicians who are in cahoots with this infidel. This is my warning. You watch out.”
Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia had also made countless attacks against Ambiga, with one report describing her as anti-Malay and anti-Islam.
The Mingguan Malaysia lead last Sunday read “Siapa sebenarnya Ambiga? (Who is the real Ambiga?) and featured pro-Umno political analysts like Perkasa member Datuk Paduka Prof Dr Ramlah Adam and Prof Datuk Dr Zainal Kling.
The article quoted the analysts as warning Malays against supporting the Bersih rally, and accused Ambiga of having a track record of “angering Muslims and Malays.”
She had defended apostate Lina Joy and opposed Syariah laws banning apostasy among Muslims.
Najib used that same argument as a weapon against her in Pasir Putih, Kelantan yesterday.
“Who doesn’t know Ambiga. She’s the one who threatened Islam,” he told a 20,000-strong crowd, referring to the Bersih chief who once took up a case involving the faith.
Najib’s remarks were carried by a Radio Malaysia news bulletin at 1pm.
The radio station also played public service clips against the rally that lauded the prime minister as leader of all Malaysians.
Asked about the remarks that were broadcast over national radio, Ambiga said, “I am not sure the prime minister was quoted correctly because it appears to be a very irresponsible statement by someone in that position.
“It is, of course, completely without basis,” she added.